Falling for My White Kitchen

I painted the door to the bathroom white this weekend, along with the door between the kitchen and dining room. I cleaned the bare wood, did a little sanding (and broke out my “retro safety glasses”), then primed and put two coats of paint on. I also got rid of the high chair.

Kitchen Instagram Photos

I was looking through some of my decorating books, and I saw a kitchen I liked with an old industrial stool in it. I realized I had something similar from when I bought my dining room chairs, and I got excited. I also thought that maybe an old print we’ve had sitting in the basement (um, there are a lot of things “sitting” in the basement right now) would work on the wall where the high chair was. When I brought the two up, I got really excited. I may have fallen for my white kitchen.

All-White Kitchen

It looked like this before.

The Kitchen, Before

Not bad (and maybe preferred by some), but I do like the current look more. Brandon and I worked so hard on that kitchen (we demolished and replaced everything except the flooring when we moved in), but five years of yellow paint and shabby wood was enough.

Here’s the ‘get your bearings’ shot (taken from the dining room), complete with crazy lady scrawl to highlight all of my kitchen’s flaws. Yay!

Kitchen: Get Your Bearings

The wide-angle lens makes it look huge. It is not. The size doesn’t bother me, but all that white is a little boring. Maybe painting the back door would help? Or a colorful refrigerator! OK, the door is more doable, but I’ve been dreaming about having a cute fridge for years. I mean, COME ON. I could totally pull that look off in my kitchen.

Moving on.

Candice Bergen Quote

The print belonged to Brandon’s grandmother. My mother-in-law said that her mom talked a shop owner into selling it to her, though it wasn’t actually for sale. I was able to attribute the quote to Candice Bergen. I don’t know anything more about it, but I do like it a whole lot.

Dinosaur Planter

That little dino guy used to be lime green. He stays because August likes him so much, but I did give him a more subtle paint job. He and the vintage canisters were picked up at The Vintage Bazaar, and the Heath Ceramics vase was a San Francisco souvenir.

Kitchen Sink

The sink side of the kitchen looks like it has all along. Some flowers would be nice in that vase, but alas, none on hand.

White Kitchen

Just like last time, the window treatments are coming in last. I’m second guessing my decision to use the Rifle Paper backdrop fabric because the windows actually look good bare. Although maybe they could go from good to great with curtains? Roman shades? Roller shades? Or the fabric from the curtains I just tried in the office? (Those are likely being returned soon.)

White Kitchen

I was going to paint the lower cabinets. Again, now I’m not so sure. I think I should paint the back door, and maybe bring in a rug. New light? Keep the white paint? I don’t know anymore. I like the white a lot more than I did though, that’s for sure. Not bad for a DIY IKEA kitchen in a hundred-year-old bungalow.

152 Responses to “Falling for My White Kitchen”

  1. Ashley @ The Houston House February 11, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    Love the backsplash!

  2. Kelsey February 11, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    The print really speaks to the “whiteness” of the kitchen! Also, would there be any way to hang art on the left side of the fridge? That could be fun…

    • Making it Lovely February 11, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

      I was thinking about hanging a banner, maybe. Like a dish towel, hung on a rod? Hmmm. Sounds weird now that I’m typing it out, ha!

      • Kait February 12, 2013 at 1:07 am #

        If you’re thinking about breaking up the bulk of the fridge, this might be a good idea – maybe you could take it a step further?
        A panel of fabric the same width of the fridge’s side, with 6 inches (or so) excess at the top and bottom to wrap over(and under) the fridge where it could be secured taut with strong magnets..
        It does sound a little weird(!) but if you were to use a white fabric, you could ‘visually extend’ the white wall next to the fridge, OR use a nice colour or pattern and make a changeable feature out of it.. and throw it in the washing machine if mini maple-syrup-handprints appear.. :-)

  3. CT February 11, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    I think your kitchen looks so great – fresh and updated. Now all it needs is a little lipstick, which is your conundrum about color. Maybe a colorful runner (Flor?) in that long narrow space back to the dog bowls and then some pattern/color in the shape of fabric at the windows? I like that you take your time and consider the space. By living with the white kitchen you have grown to appreciate it and what it might need to feel more like you. Cheers – CT

  4. Kathryn February 11, 2013 at 9:36 am #

    I thought I’d be all for lower cabinet painting, but I like the bright. And I love the the door painting. What about removing the doors to the upper cabinets and painting the inside a bright color? I’m too messy for such an option, but I’m willing to volunteer you for neatness :) That + door + curtains + rug could get you a lot of color and pattern. Also, I no longer think my kitchen is so weird for having stairs that run into the stove. That is one crazy OP layout.

    • Making it Lovely February 11, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

      Oh, thanks for volunteering me! ;) We have far too much ugly stuff behind those cabinet doors.

      And yeah, what is up with the layout in this kitchen? So weird. There isn’t really a better option though, short of full-scale remodeling and moving the stairs to the basement. We worked with what we had when we redid it.

  5. christine e-e February 11, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    ohhh… keep it white. Oh, I was hoping for the Rifle Paper roller shade… then a schoolhouse pendant lamp & a Smeg mint green fridge.
    I don’t know where you get your fabric sources, but I seem to fall in love with everything you’ve shared here recently.

  6. Maria February 11, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    Wow! I LOVE it! I wasn’t sure when you mentioned painting it white, but it turned out great. Now I want to paint my kitchen white :)

  7. Helen February 11, 2013 at 9:48 am #

    DUDE – that smeg fridge is to die for. I think it would look amazing in that space. The white feels so clean! It looks great.

  8. Alison February 11, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    Paint the back door. yes! I love that idea. how about the window frames too? I have seen that pulled off very nicely as well. fun colored school house light sounds awesome too

    It looks very cute!

    • Making it Lovely February 11, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

      I like the look of windows that are black on the inner portions with white outer trim, but it wouldn’t work for ours. The windows are too different in style, and that would only call attention to it.

  9. Alex February 11, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    Keep it white! I love white spaces.
    You did a great job with the door, I’m thinking about painting mine too, was it too hard ? I mean about sanding first… If it was just painting over the wood, but the sanding makes me step back!

    • Making it Lovely February 11, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

      I didn’t sand the whole door, just the edges where they became splintery over time. I cleaned the door with mild wood soap and a scrubby sponge, dried them off, then primed.

  10. Kait February 11, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    A two-thumbs-up vote for embracing the white. It’s undeniably fresh and tasty.
    Maybe you could add some interest (and possibly distract from the floor differences) with a patterned runner? Something like this plastic woven rug http://shop.britasweden.se/en/rugs/gerda-seagreen-new.html – the pattern would pick up on your drawer handles nicely!

    • Sarah February 11, 2013 at 10:36 am #

      Oh! I like this suggestion! I have an all white kitchen (with shiny laquered ikea cabinets) and I find it veery hard to keep those upper cabinets clean. I think the black/white/chrome thing you’ve got going on looks really pristine. I like the touches of sea foam green. I’d play around a bit with some patterns (like Kait’s runner suggestion above) and leave the walls and cabinets alone. Maybe a pop of seafoam in that shelving area you haven’t painted yet?

      • Making it Lovely February 11, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

        Sarah, I think some color in the shelving area is called for.

    • Making it Lovely February 11, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

      Kait, I was actually looking at that very runner! I have a pink and white one by them for the basement already, and I like it a lot.

  11. Leanne February 11, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    It looks so lovely!

  12. Yadira Batres February 11, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    Oh wow!!!!

    It looks like a whole new kitchen, it looks a lot more put together, not that it didn’t before but I think the dark wood trim did make it look so much more darker than what it is. and everything just pops so much more.

    Love it are you still using the floral print fabric for your curtains, I love the fabric.

  13. Celeste February 11, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    What if you paint the inside of your book nook (where you said you haven’t painted yet), instead of being white pick an accent colour (maybe something from your rug or curtain that you will place), won’t be too crazy, but a nice addition of colour.

  14. Amie February 11, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    See, all it took was putting a little more of your family’s personality into the space to make you fall back in love with your original choice of white.

    Curtains, or valances in the windows will add a lot more colour and character.

    As for the door, do it. A pale yellow would be awesome.

  15. Haley J. February 11, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    I love it! I think you should paint the backdoor, add a rug, and bring in some roman shades or fabric roller blinds. I’m thinking, based on years of reading, that adding a little color and pattern will make you more satisfied in the long run. ;)

    • Making it Lovely February 11, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

      (I think you’re right.)

    • Kathleen February 13, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

      I was gonna say exactly this. I adore the freshness of the white, but the kitchen doesn’t quite feel like you yet. I still love the idea of the Rifle Paper. Add a rug and a painted back door, and the room will sing!

  16. Lindy February 11, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    I just watched The Five Year Engagement and went bananas for the color on Emily Blunt’s front door. It’s a turquoise blue that no adjectives can do justice. It would look pretty sweet on your back door.

  17. Kristina February 11, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    I like that print with the stool in front of it, it looks very modern.

  18. gemma@thesweetestdigs February 11, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    It looks so great – fresh and fun! I think a rug and colour on the back door would really make it pop.

  19. Meredith February 11, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    Sold. You’ve inspired me to paint my creamy/yellowy living room white.

  20. Bryony February 11, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    I think the Rifle Paper fabric would still look great in there! Then you can have a few pops of colour in the otherwise white kitchen. And a coloured door would be neat. Maybe a nice pink, or a light blue, or something pulled from that fabric. That’d be neat with a fun doorknob like the ones on your bottom cabinets. I wish I could do this sort of stuff to my kitchen!

  21. lisa February 11, 2013 at 10:46 am #

    Looks wonderful! How about repainting the window sashes black, just for a bit of balance and pop?

    • Making it Lovely February 11, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

      I love that look, but only one window is double-hung. The other is a casement style and there’s nothing in there to paint.

  22. Elizabeth February 11, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    Looks fantastic! I am also thinking of painting our doors white, but am a little hesitant because I’m unsure of the best procedure. I’m curious about what you do- after sanding, do you paint the door with a brush? Spray it? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    • Making it Lovely February 11, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

      I use a brush to cut in the panels, then a small roller everywhere I can. I’ve done it before with just a brush, but the roller did such a nice job and was much faster!

  23. katie February 11, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    i absolutely love that print…such a wonderful quote! I love white everything and think your kitchen is looking great, but I agree with others, bring in a floor mat and some curtains and see what you think :)

  24. Jane February 11, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    Love it – looks great. Maybe you’ve already mentioned it but I couldn’t find but what are your countertops? They look good and simple.

  25. Jeanette February 11, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    I think painting the back door a fun color is a great idea!!

  26. jbhat February 11, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    I don’t think I will cast a vote for painting the back door. But I do think that all the white is super fresh and pretty, and I love the stuff you brought up from downstairs.


  27. Megan @ Rappsody in Rooms February 11, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    Oh, you made me fall in love with the white kitchen too. I was kind of on the fence when you first painted it, but for some reason bringing in more black and white really seemed to help. I vote for keeping the cabinets all white and doing a roman shade for the window. And I vote for a pretty pop of color on the back door. I think it’s a great idea!

  28. Amanda February 11, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    Maybe paint the back of the door with chalk board paint?

    • Making it Lovely February 11, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

      I’m sure I’m in the minority, but I don’t think I’d like a chalkboard in my kitchen. I only like them when they’re beautifully written on, like when they’re styled for a photo shoot.

  29. Chelsey February 11, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    I love the all white… BUT, I tend to go overboard and put color on EVERYthing. Also: we have a bathroom in our kitchen. Oooooooh, old houses have character. ;)

    • Making it Lovely February 11, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

      In the kitchen or off the kitchen (like ours)? Because IN the kitchen is a whole lot of character!

  30. Melissa // The Fauxmartha February 11, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    Love, love, love it. Makes me miss living in Oak Park. So much charm in the architecture.

  31. Sarah February 11, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    I REALLY like the white kitchen – it’s amazing what a few good pieces can do! I am all for a colorful rug and some Roman Shades – I like the white so much I don’t know if I would paint the door.

  32. Monica February 11, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    it looks beautiful! I don’t think you need curtains or to paint the back door–how about painting the ceiling a light color or getting a colorful rug to put in the area in front of the ‘fridge?

    • Making it Lovely February 11, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

      Oh, I hadn’t considered changing the ceiling! That’s a nice idea.

  33. Federica February 11, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    great job!! I love white! you’re right: you can add more fun with a coloured door (I think the bathroom door better than the back door. the only reason is cause it’s nearer the entry)

  34. jane February 11, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    Painting all the wood white and bringing in the stool and print made such a big difference! I love the idea of brightly-colored striped rugs (and a pink smeg). Still dying to see the bottom cupboards painted, but clearly you would have to do that first in photoshop and live with it for awhile that way. The kitchen is really looking good!

  35. Heather B February 11, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    I really like the graphic simplicity of the white and the black. I think that if you wanted color, adding the color through an ever-changing assortment of accessories would be lovely. But I do like the cleanness and the spareness of the space. Very nice.

  36. Ashlea Walter February 11, 2013 at 11:37 am #

    Are you kidding me?! I would die for this kitchen! I call my kitchen a “war zone” kitchen because, while it has SOME potential, it’s got a long ways to go. Love all the white, love the bit of industrial, the plants, the mix of new and old. Bring a punch of color in with fresh flowers, maybe a rug, some hand towels, voila!

  37. Kayleigh February 11, 2013 at 11:39 am #

    I really hope you make the rifle paper co backdrop into curtains and use them in the kitchen. I think they will be fantastic in there. I also think once you put some colorful curtains up you may find the white walls to be more awesome. I wouldn’t change your mind about the white until you hang curtains. Good luck!

  38. liz @ bon temps beignet February 11, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    GORGEOUS! And I totally love the print and chair in there.

  39. mary February 11, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    I love how your kitchen looks! Very fresh and calm. I think window treatments would be great. This fabric is finally on sale at Joann (it’s a special order in store) and could be pretty. Used this in my friend’s Savannah house–same age as your house. Linked Circa Eclipse http://pinterest.com/pin/279082508128129364/

  40. jenn February 11, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    I love it!!! You have the best style. What about a pop of color in the “to be painted” shelving area, a rug, and roller shades in the rifle paper fabric?? You’ll come up with something perfectly “lovely”, of that I’m sure!

  41. harlie February 11, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    I think a bold, colorful rug is a must in this room! I love the idea of brightly painted doors, but if you ever get a pretty color fridge, you might want to leave it white. I think some tailored valances or roman shades in a bright color would really be balance out any color on the floor.

  42. Christina W. February 11, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    I think it looks beautiful. Love that print/stool combo. Here are my peanut gallery observations! 1) You said the inside of the bookshelf isn’t painted (yet) but I think the little bit of color there is a nice surprise in so much white. 2) I definitely think you should use a window treatment of some kind, because white walls + no window treatments can seem a bit Renter With Crappy Landlord-y instead of like a deliberate choice. 3) Painting the door is a great idea and I’m throwing in my vote for black! As always, I can’t wait to see what you do and your rooms are an inspiration!

    • Making it Lovely February 11, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

      1) I think I’m going to add color. 2) Good point! 3)I think color is the way to go, not black. I’m going to paint the bathtub black, which will be visible when the bathroom door is open, and I think some color would be better.

  43. Kim @ Yellow Brick Home February 11, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    The white looks AWESOME. Now that you’ve added the stool and print, I wonder how the trim around the windows would look if painted black? Lately I’ve been daydreaming of black trim and white walls – and I noticed a lot of my pins have this element in them, too.

    I vote for still painting the bottom cabinets!

    • Making it Lovely February 11, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

      I don’t think I can do black trim. I love it in the right house, but I don’t think my little ol’ bungalow is it!

  44. Tiffany February 11, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    Nicole I love what you have done. It looks great so far. I think now you just need to focus on accessories. Maybe decorate with a pop of color. I love the idea of painting the door black. You could even do color. You did a great job with your laundry door. Also what about a cute rug? Rugs always bring a room together.

  45. sue February 11, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    i think this looks fab! a lot fresher! have you heard of neisha crosland? she does some lovely fabrics which would work beautifully in here too!

    • Making it Lovely February 11, 2013 at 10:56 pm #

      Oh, I always think of Neisha Crosland as a wallpaper designer, but it makes sense that there would be fabrics as well.

  46. Pat February 11, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    The white looks great! Much better than before. Some natural bamboo blinds/roman shades would like on the windows. They would bring in some texture and tie in nicely to the wood floors while still allowing plenty of light in.

  47. Catherine February 11, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    I think your kitchen has great bones! Those pink curtains could really work, but so could the Rifle Paper Co. pattern. And I vote for a pink SMEG fridge! It’s definitely you. :)

  48. Kristín February 11, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    AWESOME! Love it. :)
    I say a rug and that fridge you’ve been dreaming of.

    Love from white northern Europe ;)

  49. Elle February 11, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    Curtains, curtains, curtains!

  50. Kate February 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    The white is awesome!! I think a simple curtain (the just skims the top of the window-doesn’t cover it) with bold colored contemporary fabric would be great, maybe even consider hanging those close to the ceiling to give more illusion of height. The idea to paint your door is also a good one, like turquoise something. And yes a rug would look incredible.

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